Announcing the VISP Sponsored Group Program

Host a cohort of international students in your department with our new VISP Sponsored Group Program.

Information for Faculty and Staff

In the spirit of Educational Innovation and strengthening international education, the Division of Continuing Studies recently launched the Visiting International Student Program (VISP) to assist independent students from abroad who are interested in short-term nondegree study at UW-Madison. Our first cohort of independent VISP students arrived on campus fall 2012.

Who are the VISP students?
Similar to exchange students, the typical VISP participant comes to Madison for a study abroad experience before returning to their home institution to finish their degree. They are admitted as University Special Students, and typically enroll in upper-level courses across many disciplines for one or more terms. 

Our 2012-13 students came from 15 different countries.  Half of our students are recipients of full scholarships from their home countries or universities including the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program (formerly Science Without Borders), DAAD, Brittingham Viking Organization, the Taiwanese Ministry of Education, and more.

Are all VISP students currently enrolled in a degree program in their home country?
No, this is not a requirement. Some students use VISP as a way to determine if they would want to apply for graduate study in the United States; others need to take prerequisites in order to start submitting graduate school applications.

How do they receive academic advising and support? Who is their academic dean for student records issues?
As University Special Students, VISP participants should seek assistance from the office of Adult Career & Special Student Services (ACSSS) in the Division of Continuing Studies. As for all University Special Students, we serve as their Academic Dean's Office.

The VISP Coordinator, Anna Seidel-Quast, serves as all independent VISP students' academic advisor and main contact for their time here on campus. If students have specific questions regarding course content or placement, we refer them to the department's website, course guide, or potentially to the department for more information.

A VISP student contacted me regarding course placement or permission to enroll in my course. How do I know what to tell them?
VISP students typically enroll in upper-level courses in their major from their home university. They have the flexibility, however, to enroll in any course open to University Special Students with available seats. A VISP student asking for permission to enroll in a course with pre-requisites should explain to the faculty their academic background and why they feel they would be an appropriate fit for the course. It would be up to the faculty to decide to grant such a permission. Please feel free to contact the VISP coordinator, Anna Seidel-Quast, if you have any questions or concerns.

I know an international student who wishes to come to UW for one or more semesters.
We would love to hear about any potential students you might know. Please feel free to send independent students to the mainpage of our VISP website or have them contact the independent VISP Coordinator, Anna Seidel-Quast.

I would like to invite a group of students to study in our department. Is this possible? 
Yes, our new VISP Sponsored Group Program was created to serve this purpose. If you know of a group of students who might want to come and study within your department, please visit our VISP Sponsored Group Program.